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  • What holds its value better?

    Two questions that I was asked recently by a wannabe HSMer.

    First question...what holds its value better...a smaller lathe or a larger lathe?

    Second question..what holds its value better...an older American lathe or an newer Chinese lathe?

    Thanks for your opinion.

    TMT

  • #2
    Pass the popcorn....

    TMT, this subject matter has resulted in some of the most hotly debated threads I've ever seen on this board. Usually split into two camps "love american iron because it holds it's value, saves jobs, is more accurate, etc ( largely because it has been depreciated down to HSM price range with all the associated wear issues)" and the "Chicom/Tiawanese equipment will do the job and will hold almost as much value as #[email protected]% lovingly remembered T.U. american brand name machine (aka if I could afford American made, I'd have bought them and/or I don't want to rebuild something before I can use it)"
    Last edited by camdigger; 02-05-2010, 04:14 PM.
    Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit

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    • #3
      My opinions:
      It seems to me that once you get over 15" swing or so, lathes seem to go down in price per lb. quite a bit. Huge machines seem to be relatively dirt cheap whether it be a lathe, grinder, mill, whatever. I've seen several over the years that were less than scrap rate just because they were so big. There are exceptions of course.

      I think there is a larger customer base for used HSM-sized machines, thus the higher resale values.

      That said, many of the really small machines just aren't as rigid and useful as a "real" lathe so aren't worth having (as much). Lets face it - they begin to become more toy-ish in form and function in the really small scales. You can do things with them, but only very small things, so the customer base begins to drop off. They just aren't as versatile as something like a small SB or the like. There are exceptions here too of course.

      Exceptions in either case may mean big $$.

      You can pay too much for old American iron or new Asian equally. In either case you are likely to have to tweak, polish, clean up and otherwise work on the machine to make it work for you. If you pay too much, the "value" doesn't hold. Simple as that. The true value isn't what you pay for a machine nor what you get out of it when you sell it. It's often just the perception of value that the buyer has in his head at the point of sale, and that can change quickly - human whim. If you want to get a good value, be patient and don't buy new. Find a used Asian machine for 1/2 of one from a new supplier that has probably not been used much at all anyway. Or find a high-quality used machine from the days of yore for cheap money because the seller is motivated to get it out from where it sits. Either way, you need to know how to check it out so you can know the true condition so you are getting a good (potentially) machine.

      The truth though?
      If you want to invest your money, go with real estate or something. Much better investments out there than machinery. If you want a good experience hobbying in machining, then the return on your money isn't the thing. As long as it's within the budget, I don't see much sense in putting a price on the enjoyment one gets from his hobbies. For me, I never made a dime from a hobby. They always cost money. But the return was (almost) always worth the money spent.
      Last edited by tyrone shewlaces; 02-05-2010, 04:22 PM.

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      • #4
        If you buy a nackered piece of old American iron it's still the same old piece of nackered American iron after 10 more years of use, so 0% depreciation. Trouble is it wasn't worth **** to start with. A new Chinese lathe will cost a significant amount of dosh when new. 10 years later its a piece of old nackered Chinese iron and isn't worth ****, so 100% depreciation. Trouble is it wasn't worth **** to start with either.

        My advice is buy new American iron. 10 years later you could sell it to a museum for a huge amount of dosh, as it would be one of a kind.

        Phil

        Originally posted by Too_Many_Tools
        Two questions that I was asked recently by a wannabe HSMer.

        First question...what holds its value better...a smaller lathe or a larger lathe?

        Second question..what holds its value better...an older American lathe or an newer Chinese lathe?

        Thanks for your opinion.

        TMT

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Too_Many_Tools
          Second question..what holds its value better...an older American lathe or an newer Chinese lathe?
          things generally follow a depreciation curve that is steeper as its newer. Generally older will hold its value better regardless of where its made
          in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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          • #6
            FWIW, small easily portable older machines are some of the best, but the best bar none is the massive dinosaur noone wants to move. 16 + inch lathes, etc are sometimes sold in the $200 range because noone can be bothered to move a couple ton of cast iron configured in a nasty, topheavy package.

            OTOH, moving one yourself is a daunting presopect fraught with angst and danger (what HSMer knows how to work around 1 ton + equipment safely? especially when lifting it, or it's up on rollers, or blocks?) Professional rigging can be big $. (that's part of the reason these big machines go cheap.
            Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit

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            • #7
              Lathes

              From what I have witnessed, lathes over 12" swing go a lot cheaper and anything under 12" swing, old US made or import, cost a good bit more and are more sought after by folks with minimal space in their shop. I have also observed that the older machines seem to be made a little better and hold up to wear a lot better. There are still a lot of Monarch series 61 lathes out there that were made in the 50's and were surplussed to the public after being used by govt. contractors. Most were still in excellent shape. I wonder if the Chinese machines will fare anywhere near as well?
              Jim (KB4IVH)

              Only fools abuse their tools.

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              • #8
                The value of "Larger" machine tools is relative to the COST of getting it on the truck

                If the Rigger's estimate is $3000 to get it on the truck, not including destination charges, unloading it at point of destination, building special pads, and getting it into the shop - wouldn't you expect that to effect the price

                I've seen some really great machine tools in the 15,000 - 20,000 lbs class go for rediculously cheap prices

                As for Chi-Com lathes and mills - when the manufacture's rep replies to your request for replacement parts with "You must be kidding, that machine is almost 30 years old" They have just set the value of 30 year old Chi-com to ZERO

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                • #9
                  Look at the prices for the little Atlas 618's (6 x 18) lathes and the accessories. A very common lathe (rarity not a factor) and also one of the highest in terms of price per pound. I rest my case.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JoeFin
                    The value of "Larger" machine tools is relative to the COST of getting it on the truck

                    If the Rigger's estimate is $3000 to get it on the truck, not including destination charges, unloading it at point of destination, building special pads, and getting it into the shop - wouldn't you expect that to effect the price

                    I've seen some really great machine tools in the 15,000 - 20,000 lbs class go for rediculously cheap prices

                    As for Chi-Com lathes and mills - when the manufacture's rep replies to your request for replacement parts with "You must be kidding, that machine is almost 30 years old" They have just set the value of 30 year old Chi-com to ZERO

                    That's a good point. The ability to get parts from a supplier has a lot to do with value in any given era. It's true of cars, appliances and also machine tools.

                    In that regard, an older machine that is still being built and for which parts are still readily available should have more value than an older machine that is an orphan from a company that is defunct.

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                    • #11
                      I don't see parts as being a major issue, I mean yea some parts are gonna suck to make yourself, but id think the majority of parts expected to fail are reasonabley easy to get or make.
                      O-rings, gears, levers, pins, chucks, bearings, all more or less easy to get or make/adapt, Sure, if you crack a gearbox casting your probley screwed unless you get it repaired, but then, a non pressurised oil filled casting isent the worlds hardest thing in the world to fix, iv seen it done. And usally a cracked casting would mean droped or crashed. Havent heard of anyone complaining there chinese gearbox suddenly exploded without reason.

                      As far as what holds its value best, id have to say the 12x36 lathes of 800~2000lbs
                      Mainly because

                      A: I own one, so im heavily biased
                      B: anything over 2000lbs becomes REALLY hard to human move anywhere, especialy if its gotta go down stairs or something into a basement shop, or even a big hill, good luck. So they usally sell for pennys on the dollar.
                      C: Anything under 800lbs (12x36 size) starts losing rigidity quick and usally good features like the QCGB, 1.5"~ spindle bore, seperate lead/feed screw go quick with it.
                      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Black_Moons
                        B: anything over 2000lbs becomes REALLY hard to human move anywhere, especialy if its gotta go down stairs or something into a basement shop, or even a big hill, good luck. So they usally sell for pennys on the dollar.
                        Any thing over 5000 lbs I would say

                        Most people don't realize just how close they are to a good fork lift

                        I pay the kid at the corner hardware store $25 a pick to load/unload for me

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                        • #13
                          I have a Rivett 1020, made in 1968. According to legend, all Rivett spare parts were destroyed in the early 70's. I do not believe it's value is Zero.

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                          • #14
                            Something to consider here is new vs used and then age and CoO. A new (rebuilt) Monarch 10EE is 60K, you can buy them for 2K in rough shape. Did that hold it's value well?

                            A brand new taiwan lathe in that size (16x30ish) is going to cost you around 8-12K (for a good one), in 60 years it's gonna be worthless, but you're still only in it for 12K, not 60.

                            When it comes to which is better, the question shouldn't be a monetary issue, it's one of service life and effective usefulness. In 30 years, my Voest lathe hasn't lost any accuracy from when it was bench marked off the production line. Since I didn't spend the 30K it cost new in the 70's, but rather $4500 a couple years back, I'm very pleased that I was able to save a very substantial portion of the acquisition price for a machine that still performs to a high benchmark (and it's not a back room betty - she was USED). Buying one new from china would've cost me 14K. I saved 60% to get a better machine. What's it worth when I sell it? I don't really care - it makes me money now.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JoeFin
                              Any thing over 5000 lbs I would say

                              Most people don't realize just how close they are to a good fork lift

                              I pay the kid at the corner hardware store $25 a pick to load/unload for me

                              I loaded (drop bed tailer ) and moved my 3000lb lathe twice.. with custom pallets (lathe bolted down), 2 pallet jacks and a come-along. My 2600lb BP? one pallet jack!

                              Today - loaded a 2700lb cold saw with a pallet jack and a chain hoist.

                              Amazing what you can do if you need to. A forklift won't help in my shops are there's no room to get it in and turn, but I'd sure like one.

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